Agency · Digital agency

Seeking for advice on growing a small software company

Alex Brynou Owner - MageTerra (Magento eCommercy agency)

Last updated on August 25th, 2019

My partner and I are very talented full-stack software engineers with years of experience working on complicated high load projects. Thought we can build a larger team by including designers, SEO and other web related specialists to be able to solve broader problems

Would appreciate if the cofounderslab community can advise on the following two questions:

1) What do you think is the best way/platform to find clients we could help with solving technical tasks - preferably in E-commerce business?

2) How would you approach adding designers, SEO and other web related specialists to the current team of two: before searching for a new client or after upon demand?

Thank you

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

August 25th, 2019

Usually the solution to growing a software development shop is to specialize, not to generalize. Adding more talents (competing) is not the way to win more clients. Differentiating is the way to win more clients.

Web marketing and web design are two more separate businesses. When you haven't figured out how to market your core business (software engineering), it's the wrong time to add more products/services.

Concentrate your efforts on your marketing strategy for your core business before you add anyone. Why aren't you winning more clients for software services? What is your value proposition? How are you dramatically different than other engineers? (you hinted at this)

Your questions show a lack of foundational research about when your potential customers think about finding outside help, where they look, how they make decisions, and what other options they're comparing your services against.

If it were me, I would never hire more people to become a general services provider, not until your existing customers regularly say the words "Gee, I wish you also did ____." You haven't built trust with a core group of regular customers for your highest talent. Why would you diversify into areas where you are even weaker?

The earliest stage of any company needs to be marketing strategy where you write down your assumptions, test each assumption, do your competitive analysis, develop a marketing strategy, validate your marketing methods, and THEN you settle on what your service offering will be. My guess is what you will find is that there is some niche in "complicated high load projects" that might cause you to round out your team with one or more people that really give your service a product-market fit in that underserved niche.

My strongest advice to you, don't become a generalist unless your existing customers who are very loyal are demanding it from you, and even then, hesitate.

David Insro Founder & CEO, Serial Entrepreneur

August 25th, 2019

Paul is correct. At the moment you are just a random software house that builds ecommerce sites. You need to build up your brand and capability to become the go-to specialist for building those sites. Start with your local city and learn how to market and sell. You also need to improve your capability by developing in-house tools to help you build those websites cheaper and faster. Go deep, not broad.

Jet A software engineer and develoepr

September 1st, 2019

Hi Alex,

I agree with Paul Garcia. Since you and your partner are both full stack software engineers, you really don't need anyone at this point. I'm like you, starting off a small software company ( but I only focus on a specific area, creating a suite of software tools for people to generate multimedia contents. My goal is to eventually provide all free tools once I migrate all the software products to be web and mobile based. I want to attract traffic so that I can market the related AR hardware that I have in mind by providing the free software.

The marketing is very difficult, harder than writing code and developing software. However, with all social media platforms and app stores, you may be able to attract users easier than before. If you have some software products, you may consider to come out with free versions of mobile apps and post them onto app stores. That's what I'm planning to do. If your apps are attractive, you may direct users to you site to learn more about your company.

Just my two cents.

Jay Business Development consultant, Product Design Consultant. Fashtech, ecommerce

August 25th, 2019

100 agree with paul. here are few more ideas :

- find more work at upwork + freelancing websites.

- Blog about what matters to your industry , build backlinks

- get testimonials for your clients do interviews with them and re purpose the hell out of the content.

- Linkedin marketing

- Startup Events, co working spaces to find early idea stage non tech startups & founders.

- Do a equity based project with a startup in your industry to build credibility, Project case study. if interested I have 2 projects 1: B2B trading ecommerce platform. 2. Reshopp : Ecommerce platform to help charities get donations and raise funds.

Mail me at

or connect at

Darya Mateychenko Operations / PMO

Last updated on August 28th, 2019

Hey Alex,

Good questions. I can add from my experience that adding people in advance would not be cost-effective. Until you prove you will have contracts to get those people work and include them into your UVP - you do not have to hire those experts onboard.

As to best way/platform: no such best way. I've been trying different sources for my team, and I can say that for any resource you can figure a winning and specific strategy and get max results.

But to not spread attention too much, try 1-2 sources (perhaps LinkedIn + jobs marketplace) and concentrate your efforts there. You can empirically figure best strategy on those resources and move on to expanding the network after.

Clay Nichols Helping other startups grow after launching 2 successful startups.

September 3rd, 2019

1. Meet business owners. Discover their pain points. People love to talk about their pain. Once they know you care, they'll care what you know.

I can't suggest a specific platform for meeting them. In person is best. Learn to Listen. Listen. Listen. Get curious.

2. I agree with others here; do not add any more capability until you know you have demand for that capability.

Srinivasan Satagopan CEO @ Ecotech IT Solutions Inc., assisting IT product companies in realizing their product dreams

Last updated on August 28th, 2019

Hi Alex,

Considering you both are technical expertise, I would recommend initially to work with partnering teams for other technology needs. That will save up your bandwidth and other management headaches. However, its easy said than done, you need to find the right partners for different technology needs - partners that are sincere, honest and highly trustworthy. You may be able to identify such partners only through some trial and error. who knows you may be luck to find the right partners at the first go! Good luck!